It was the point at which I found myself running up and down the hill outside my house – just so that I could finish on a
Four years ago, I wouldn't have been seen dead in a running vest. Now, I have nothing against running vests - although they are a bit itchy and provide very little cover - but when you have a hip full of metal from major pelvic reconstruction surgery, they're not usually a wardrobe essential. So, quite why I decided to pick up a pair of trainers during chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment in 2014 is a fact that continues to baffle me - and anyone who happens to know the pre-cancer version of me. I was a non-runner who did her first ever 10k race (or, more specifically her own distinct brand of jog/walking) just days before her last chemo (with no hair and a training plan few would endorse) at the age of 32. I survived, so I did another one to celebrate the end of active treatment (although I think my friends would have preferred it if we had just gone to the pub). With multiple half marathons under my belt (including one in a giant boob) and two pairs of trainers, 2016 was the year I tentatively started to call myself a (very, very slow) runner. It was the year I ran my first marathon. When I started out on this journey, I never thought I would talk openly about blisters, fluorescent lycra, achy bits and missing toenails. I never thought I would run 26.2 miles without stopping. And I certainly didn’t expect to run another one on my wedding day, after being the first couple to get married on the Cutty Sark before completing the London Marathon on 23 April 2017. I know a hip full of metal, superglued stomach and tummy-fat filled right breast (from mastectomy surgery), oh, and asthma, do not the best running companions make. I know that my next run could be my last. I have been told - on more than one occasion - to find another hobby before I break myself completely. But, when I'm running, I have everything to smile about. I am constantly reminded how beautiful life - and its little details - really are and I certainly didn't beat a life-threatening illness just to play it safe. Exercise is my post-cancer life insurance policy. I am determined to keep going and make every step count - even if my legs have other ideas. Join me on my #Milesbetter2018 journey and help turn your exercise-related miles into smiles! Check back soon (and you can also find me blogging on smallboobsbigsmiles.com or www.thisdayforward.org/thoughtful-blog/, tweeting @Jackie8 or posting sweaty photos on creative888 instagram)
The day I started exercising was the day I started to lose my inhibitions
31/01/2018 10:45 GMT
Knowing how good exercise makes me feel doesn’t stop me sabotaging my own good intentions
19/01/2018 17:06 GMT
You won’t always have next year
04/01/2018 08:10 GMT
As the year I married my best friend at 7.20am on the Cutty Sark, ran the London Marathon moments later and trekked a giant
20/11/2017 15:04 GMT
I know that while she is now out of pain, she will never be far from the thoughts of those who loved and cared for her. And I know, that whatever it is I go on to do, I must honour her memory, make it meaningful and make it a reminder that young women don't just get breast cancer - they also die too young and too soon.
30/05/2017 12:01 BST
I joke with my husband now that I am glad he took 13 years to propose. Had he not, our house would be packed with happy memories, but little meaning. When I look at my wedding ring now I am reminded not just of the person who gives me a reason to smile each and every day, but of all the people who made our love possible.
11/05/2017 15:00 BST
Kindness is an early-morning ceremony on the Cutty Sark (I think the registrar and some runners got up at 5am) that involved road closure teams, guests dressed for sports day and a jelly baby bouquet made for me by an incredible friend so that I could be a bride, but an 'on message' one.
09/05/2017 16:14 BST
Life has a way of tripping us up, changing the path and the focus of our lives when we (usually) least want it to. It breaks the heating when we're running a fever. The internet goes down when we're on a deadline. The trains stop running when we make a special effort to get to work early.
17/04/2017 21:35 BST
It's not always pretty - says the woman with the terrible gait, fluffy chemo-styled hair, dodgy hips and injury-battered body. But, what's so brilliant about this great leveller of a sport, is that however you do it, wherever you do it and whatever technique you use to get round, you get to call yourself a runner.
13/04/2017 11:39 BST
When you're training for a marathon, everyone will tell you about the fear of injury...
10/04/2017 11:33 BST
We, none of us, know how long we have left. So, we owe it to ourselves, our loved ones and our friends to make every day special. I cannot stop from friends from dying. But, I vow to do whatever I can to help them achieve their dreams and smile through their days.
02/04/2017 18:58 BST
It worries me that I can identify a proper one from a supermarket fake on a blind taste test (and that I have actually conducted said test). It worries me that I ordered a kilo bag from Amazon the week before a race and there weren't any left by the time we got to the start line. It worries me that I choose to eat them before dinner as a snack - along with my parents.
27/03/2017 16:52 BST
How do you thank people for going out of their way to be kind when you face huge challenges in your life? For someone who likes to give, it was a question that plagued me as my living room was turned into a garden centre and my shelves filled with beautiful cards and messages during treatment for breast cancer.
22/03/2017 16:10 GMT
But, with our wedding now just weeks away, it is not the aisle that excites me as much as the fact I will be crossing the start line of the London Marathon by his side just hours later. I can think of no greater honour.
14/03/2017 16:08 GMT
With cancer, you have everything to lose. It can steal your loved ones, turn your skin to scars, crush your confidence and force you to stare in a mirror and not recognise the face staring back. And, in the case of breast cancer, if it spares your life, you must live in the fear that it might one day return unexpectedly to finish the job.
09/03/2017 16:21 GMT
Hope got me out in my trainers and into the fresh air. Hope got me through my first 10k on chemo. Hope gave me the confidence to book a wedding ceremony an hour before the London Marathon (which for someone with a hip full of metal is a risky strategy). And, it is hope that is what has me smiling again today.
27/02/2017 16:42 GMT
Because, on that cold Sunday morning, I learned something about friendship that I think I would have never discovered tucked away in some remote cottage sipping a bit too much Champagne out of rather oddly-shaped male straws.
14/02/2017 15:31 GMT
So I searched locally for the dogs in my area and there were plenty of all shapes and sizes, but one handsome man caught my eye. Sue, Bertie's owner, had just moved to the village so we messaged a few times and decided to meet. As they say, the rest is history.
30/01/2017 15:52 GMT
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